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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Eleanor Leinen remembers the day she received the devastating news she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
“I was quite shocked because I don’t fit the profile. I’m a size two, it just didn’t fit,” said Leinen.
But it was the second call that pushed her into action.
“A friend of mine called and said ‘wow are you going to have to wear diabetic shoes?’ And I went ‘what are they? What do they look like?’ So I investigated, they were a hard find,” said Leinen. “They were dowdy, $134 and came in only three colors: bone, black and brown.”
Leinen refused to wear the shoes but when her condition worsened she realized, like millions who suffer from diabetes, she didn’t have a choice. She would have to protect her feet.
“That started me on a mission one to change the look of orthopedic and diabetic footwear for fashionable and trendy women and the second thing which is the most important and this is saving women’s feet one sole at a time,” she said.
Leinen went on to create her own company – Walk Another Way. With a group of artists, she designed what she says are fashionable orthopedic shoes. Leinen’s shoes aren’t just for people with diabeties – they are for people who are suffering from all kinds of foot issues like arthritis, bunions, hammertoes and even back problems.
Leinen said she comes up with the vision for the shoes and then she gives her artists the freedom to make magic
“They are not for the faint, they are infused with lots of colors but the styles range in palate taste – so we have for someone who likes colors then we have the moderate, trendy to the avant garde — the couture like for people who want something special, we also have a line called renovation well.”
Leinen’s shoes sell for anywhere between $235 and $600. She also welcomes clients to send in their own shoes that may be slightly worn and her team can place patterns on them for half the price.